Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A New Papal Nuncio; Archbishop Mario Cassari

The Apostolic See (the Vatican) announces the appointment of Archbishop Mario Roberto CASSARI as the incoming Nuncio (Papal Ambassador) to South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland and Namibia.
H.E. Archbishop Mario Roberto CASSARI – Archbishop Titular of Tronto
27 August 1943: Born in Ghilarza (Sardinia – Italy).
27 December 1969: Ordained priest, after studies in Philosophy and Theology.
1969-1974: Parish Vicar at the Cathedral of Tempio Pausania (Sardinia), Teacher at
Secondary School and Bishop’s Secretary.
•  Doctor in Theology at Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.
•  Licence in Canon Law at Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.Graduated in Diplomatic Studies in 1977 at the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy (also known as the “Vatican Diplomatic Academy”).
•  Archbishop Cassari speaks Italian, French, Spanish and English.
22 March 1977: Admitted into the Diplomatic Service of the Holy See. He served on the following Apostolic Nunciatures: Pakistan, Colombia, Ecuador, Sudan, Southern Africa (1985-1989, under Abp. Mees and Abp. De Paoli), Japan, Austria, Lithuania (Latvia/Estonia), Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia/Montenegro) and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
3 August 1999: Appointed by the Blessed John Paul II as Titular Archbishop of Tronto and
Apostolic Nuncio to Congo and Gabon.
16 October 1999: Consecrated Archbishop by H.E. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State.
31 July 2004: Appointed Apostolic Nuncio to Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso and Niger.
14 February 2008: Appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as Apostolic Nuncio to Croatia.
10 March 2012: Appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as Apostolic Nuncio to South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland.

A new Nuncio to succeed the popular Archbishop Green.  If you read through the CV you will notice that Archbishop Cassari has been here before under Archbishops Mees and De Paoli.  Paddy Kearney refers to Archbishop Cassari, then a mere Monsignor,  in his biography of Archbishop Dennis Hurley, "Guardian of the Light:  Dennis Hurley : Renewing the Church: Opposing Apartheid".

Archbishop Jan Mees, the then Nuncio, was invited to give a message from Pope John Paul II at the last Plenary Session of the SACBC that was chaired by Archbishop Hurley in 1987.  Mees was close to the Paraguayan Dictator Alfredo Stroessner with whom the then SA government was also on good terms.  Mees basicly told the SA Bishops to keep their noses out of politics in a roundabout way quoting JPII.....President PW Botha had similarly quoted the Pope to the Bishops on an earlier occasion.  It was contrary to everything that Archbishop Hurley and the SACBC stood for.

Mees was transferred shortly afterwards leaving Mgr Cassari in charge of the delegation.  At the first possible opportunity he addressed the SACBC and said " You, more than others, know your people,  you live among them, you share their anxieties and their sorrows as a result of their everyday living conditions.  For all this you must shout, even from the roof tops - in the name of God - that the time has come that South Africa really becomes a New South Africa."  He was given a standing ovation...and that New South Africa seemed a very long way away in 1987!  

Don't be put off by the stern picture. He is obviously a good man.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Two Weeks into Lent & Stations of the Cross on your Smart Phone.

Church has been packed for the last two Sundays.  It is usually full but is now bursting at the seams.  Is this a Lenten revival or just coincidence?  Weekday Masses are also up.

Hope & Joy...powered by the Jesuit Institute.....have produced a Stations of the Cross App using the Stations at Holy Trinity as illustrations.  I think this is a wonderful idea:

Stations of the Cross for your Smartphone

Walking Jesus’ Way of the Cross with Hope&Joy

In the spirit of Vatican II, the Hope&Joy project is challenging Catholics in South Africa to be a Church in the modern world.  One way of doing that is to re-look at traditional devotions and allow them to be re-created today.
The Way of the Cross has been a central devotion of Lent for about 800 years, a means of enabling Christians who could not go to Jerusalem personally to follow in Jesus’ footsteps on Good Friday.  We walk with him (literally around the church or symbolically in our prayers) from his condemnation by Pilate, through his suffering and death, and finally to the tomb.  In more recent times, a 15th has been added to the traditional 14 stations – to remind us that Jesus’ life does not end in death but in the triumph of the Resurrection.
In every age different artists and musicians have re-interpreted the Way of the Cross.  In our age it is not only modern artists and musicians but also technicians who have something to share.  We are therefore pleased to offer these downloads designed so that you can meditate on the Way of the Cross on your smartphone at any time and in any situation.
The images are painted by the South African artist Joseph Capelle, installed in 2011 in the Jesuit parish of Holy Trinity, Braamfontein – tucked between the Johannesburg business district and Wits University.
The different words are by the artist and also by Fr Russell Pollitt, the Jesuit parish priest who commissioned the paintings and who is Catholic chaplain to Wits University and the University of Johannesburg. The music is sung by the choir of the University of Johannesburg and draws on traditional African hymns and modern settings of ancient Church texts.

Giving up drinking alcohol hasn't been as difficult as I imagined it would much for self-mortification!  Also it hasn't been noticeable to others and that is  more to the point!  The only time I had to say anything is for the Bacchanalian Society lunch on Friday.  Normally we choose our food and so ordering a non-meat dish is no big deal but this month a special tasting menu has been prepared and we have a particular item with which to match a wine.  There are some of my favourites like quail and I had to sound a little prissy and ask for alternative dishes.  Fortunately one of our members doesn't eat meat so I could ride on his back.

For those who have an interest in wine I have been asked to match a wine with Insalata Scoglio di Frisio- A vinegary and lemony salad of baby clams, diced red onion and celery on a little lettuce, a nightmare for any wine!  The suggestion was a Sauvignon Blanc but I know it will turn to dross in your mouth so I am trying a Vinho Verde and hoping that it has enough acid to overcome the dressing.  And if you think this constitutes drinking alcohol, tasting is not drinking.

It is interesting that the great arguments in the States over Obama's Contraception Clause and the two discussions in the UK on same-sex marriage and the argument that a new born child is not yet a person and can be killed are not even a blip on the South African radar screen.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of St Andrew's & Edinburgh came out with quite an intemperate statement where he likened the graveness of same-sex marriage to the evil of slavery.  Quite silly, really, as the Church didn't see slavery as an evil for centuries.........

The Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols came out with a much more measured and reasoned statement.  I can't help thinking that it will have little effect on the British Government's intentions, let's see.

I did mention that the SA Catholic Bishops' Conference had issued a statement on abortion about 6 weeks ago.  For the sake of completeness I'm posting it here.  It's very well phrased.

Abortion on demand was legalized in South Africa

Fifteen years have passed since abortion on demand was legalized in South Africa. Since then it is estimated that over one million unborn children were denied the most fundamental of rights, the right to life. We remember those one million babies.  Those aborted fifteen years ago would now be in grade 9 or 10, bringing joy to their families and planning their own futures. Those whose lives were ‘terminated’ ten years ago would now be playing on the streets of our towns and villages in the evenings and singing and praying with us in our churches on Sunday. We regret that those children of God were denied the right to be born into God’s world and to enrich it with their own unique gifts and talents.  We will never fully realize what we have missed because the law says “abortion is fine”.
When the legislation was being discussed those in favour of it said it would save some mothers from the dangers of what has become known as “back-street abortions”. We question if this has in fact been the case. On almost every electricity pole along the streets of our cities and towns there are advertisements for ‘safe and painless’ abortions. They are outside the Head Office of the Department of Health in Pretoria and on the boundary walls of our schools. If the advertising is so public and so widespread, then the demand for those” back-street abortions” must be high.
The position of the Catholic Church on abortion is clear and unambiguous .Just because the law says it is legal does not make it morally right. Each unborn child is created by God, “knit together in (its) mother’s womb” (Ps139.13) .That unborn child is a human being with a human life that must be protected. He or she has a right to life, a right that must be respected by the mother and protected by the state.
Another right that must be respected by the state and its agents is that of conscientious objection. Those who believe that abortion is morally wrong have a right to refuse to participate in the medical procedures.
All of us, parents, teachers, members of the Church, must understand what a young girl is going through when she realizes she is pregnant. She needs our love, our support, our understanding and sometimes our forgiveness. We in the Church are committed to helping unmarried pregnant girls and couples tempted to take the abortion route in whatever way we can. We will never condemn, just as Jesus refused to condemn (John8.11)
As we remember the many children who have been aborted since February 1997, we also remember the mothers of these children. Just as we do not condemn a pregnant young girl, we do not condemn her if she made the mistake of procuring an abortion. Only she knows how much she has suffered as a result. She needs help and healing. We invite her to come and speak to one of our priests or counselors so that we can be part of reconciling her to God and bringing about healing.
Archbishop Buti  Tlhagale, OMI,
On behalf of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference, 30th January 2012